The Santa Fe‒Taos circuit in the northern part of the state is where most visitors would go once they enter New Mexico, which, for locals, would be quite predictable. But New Mexico will deliver whether you go north or south. From bathing in crystal-clear light to dazzling desert landscapes, to deep gorges and canyons, you won’t be disappointed. We have compiled a list of the top ten reasons to visit New Mexico (and stay a while, too!).
- The White Sands area
Visitors flock tp the White Sands National Monument. Located in the northern Chihuahuan Desert in the U.S. state of New Mexico, it’s known for its dramatic landscape of rare white gypsum sand dunes. But there’s more to this area than you might realize. In addition to hiking or sledding, don’t miss the White Sands Missile Range. You can wander through a fascinating collection of missiles and rockets that will make you feel as if you’re travelling through time. As it is an active military base, you’ll be required to bring an ID and go through security.
- The Very Large Array
Visit this attraction located on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, New Mexico. It consists of 27 radio antennas with a height of 25 meters in Y-shaped configurations and is dubbed as one of the world’s premier astronomical radio observatories.
- Wilderness areas and forests
The Gila Wilderness is known as the world’s first official wilderness area as well as the largest wilderness area in our state with a whopping 558,014 acres. If you’re not close to Gila, the Lincoln National Forest also offers plenty of recreational opportunities.
- Carlsbad Caverns
This is New Mexico’s National Park despite the abundant number of state monuments. You should probably prioritize this destination, due to its spectacular caves. Stalactites also cling to the roof of the Big Room, a huge underground chamber in the cavern. Free-tailed bat flights can be seen in August and September too!
- The City of Roswell
Roswell City is a true gem of a place. It’s renowned as the site of an alleged 1947 UFO crash, so it’s only fitting that there is an International UFO Museum. After you’ve visited it, head on over to the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art. It offers a great, varied collection of contemporary art created by fellows from the Roswell Artist In Residence program.
- All the Hot springs
Believe it or not, there is a town called Truth or Consequences, named after a popular radio show. It was previously called Hot Springs, and it remains a place where you can soak to your heart’s content. Riverbend Hot Springs is a particularly scenic resort, or, if you prefer primitive hot springs, trek out to Middle Fork (also called Lightfeather) Hot Springs in the Gila Wilderness.
Maybe you’re one who seeks unique experiences, seclusion, or a challenging hike. Whatever it is, Southern New Mexico will surely deliver. You can take the Pine Tree Trail for views of the Organ Mountains, hike through Rattlesnake Canyon located in the Carlsbad Caverns National Park, or even attempt the Dog Canyon trail near Alamogordo! The possibilities are endless for the adventurous kind.
- The Wild West happened here
You can never get enough history in New Mexico. Yes, we have most likely learned about gunslingers in a classroom setting. However, discover a true adventure when you stroll through Lincoln, New Mexico. It’s amazingly well-preserved, and feels so authentic that you’d expect to pass by Billy the Kid and Pete Garrett. Any modern tourist can still taste the flavor of the earlier times as you walk past century-old adobe buildings, hear tales from old-timers themselves, and walk the same streets that were made infamous in the late 1800s.
- Native American sites
Native Americans were the original inhabitants New Mexico. And through these sites, evidence still remains. With national monuments surrounding the place, such as the Aztec Ruins, Bandelier, the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site in Tularosa, and Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument take you even further back in time.
- The Variety of Food
No adventure is complete until you’ve experienced New Mexican cuisine. Discover a blend of flavors from Native American and Spanish cultures that has been perfected over the course of 400 years. Expect to find dining experiences worthy of a James Beard award or an authentic dive off the beaten path, you’ll see (and eat) them all in new Mexico.